Friday, October 24, 2014

Mushroom Tomato Onion Black-Olive Wild-Rice Pasta

I had a hankering for a healthy pasta dish the other night, and when I couldn't find a recipe I liked online, I looked in my pantry and fridge and invented my own.  Here's what I came up with below.  (I use all organic ingredients in all my recipes.)

Mushroom Tomato Onion Black-Olive Wild Rice Pasta 

  • Then I added in a (drained) jar of sun-dried tomatoes, a  (drained) jar of black olives, and one fresh chopped onion, and I stir-fried all of it on low just until the veggies were hot. 
  • I made a pot of gluten-free wild rice penne pasta and tossed it with the cooked veggies.  You can add in a little more coconut oil or olive oil if you feel the noodles are bit dry; that helps to toss it without tearing the noodles.

Served on our nicely set table with a small green salad, sparkling water, and Food for Life gluten-free bread that I cut into heart and star shapes with a cookie cutter and toasted in the oven, I thought it made a yummy fall meal, and my hubs raved about the flavors cooked together.

Celebrating the art of simple, charming, elegant living!

Kathryn :) 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

In Memory of Joyce Bechen

In loving memory of Joyce Bechen, my hubby Steve's Mom, who passed away today at age 84.

Photos here are of Steve's parents visiting our home in San Diego County, CA in 2006, beginning top left to right:

  • Joyce with her son and my husband, Steve Bechen
  • My hubby Steve, his Dad Edward, Mom Joyce, and me
  • I took Joyce to lunch at the beach in Cardiff, CA and she loved that we ate lunch right on the sand in front of the Pacific Ocean

Rest in peace, Joyce/Mom, and may God bless you.

Love from the California kids,

Steve & Kathryn 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bistro 65 at La Costa Resort

Do you have a favorite bistro where you live?  Or more than one?

Although we cook most of our meals at home together, I'm also a HUGE believer in "bistro therapy" as a fun, affordable, healthy, and aging-with-grace lifestyle thing to do!

11 Reasons "Bistro Therapy" is a Great Lifestyle M.O.
by Kathryn Bechen

1.  Cozy bistros tend to foster a sense of community and intimacy, focusing on great conversation and artfully-presented healthier food, rather than on noisy crowds, unhealthy fried foods, and a blaring big-screen TV.

2.  Bistros are usually beautifully and colorfully decorated, with interesting art on the walls, which speaks to humans'  need for nourishing and attractive aesthetics.

3.  Bistros usually offer several "side dishes" which are veggies.   We often order four veggie side dishes and share so we can try them all, vs. order individual meals.  Our healthier drink of choice is Pellegrino sparkling water with a twist of lime, or my hubs likes iced tea.

4.  It's fun to get dressed up and go someplace beautiful to relax and dine, vs. just eat in a rush.  We personally both want good grooming and dressing up a bit (in a modern way) to be part of our aging-with-grace M.O.

5.  Outdoor bistros offer a chance to sit in the sunshine, enjoy fresh air, and take in beautiful scenery from an outdoor patio.  What could be better for your physical and emotional health?

6.  Going to a bistro on Sunday afternoon is a treat to look forward to during the week, and that's a good stress-management tool.  Also, everyone deserves a break from the labor of cooking and kitchen clean up at least once a week!  Plus it's fun to look forward to putting together a nice outfit to wear too.

7.  Lunch or appetizers at a nice bistro are a good way to stretch your dining-out budget over a more expensive large dinner with drinks.   We personally set a monthly $ budget for dining out, and we choose our number of times and places we go within this dollar amount, without being ridiculous about pinching every penny.

8.  Bistro outings are an adventure so it keeps curiosity, romance, and spice in your marriage!  We try new places all the time so we feel like we're on a mini-vacation.  I research on the internet in our city of San Diego, using search terms like "most romantic San Diego restaurants/bistros" and "best San Diego bistros" and "best French restaurants San Diego" and "best outdoor restaurants San Diego."  Once I have some places to choose from, I run them by my hubby and we decide together which ones we want to try, or save for another time.  You can do the same Google search in your city.

9.  If you're single, going out to a bistro by yourself on Sunday, and taking your journal, favorite pen,  and a good book can be very relaxing and nourishing.

10.  Having a light bistro lunch or appetizers helps with weight control.  That's anti-aging for sure!

11.  If you go to those bistros located in resorts or hotels, there are often lovely lobbies to sit and people-watch, and pretty landscaped grounds where you can take a walk together afterwards.  Walking is anti-aging, and it's a fun activity to do with your mate.

As you can see, there are MANY advantages to including bistro therapy into your lifestyle!  Can you think of any more reasons?

By the way, if you think you can't afford to do this once a week or so, here's an idea:

Look over your household budget and see where you can cut $10 off of ten spending categories.   That will give you $100 to set aside to spend on bistro therapy.   Even if you can only come up with $50 a month, that's a start!

Or, go over your budget and decide if there's something else you've been doing that is no longer serving you, and use that money for bistro therapy instead.

Do this exercise on your budget together with your mate, if you have one.  If not, you're on your own!

How I learned to do this?

When I was a young woman on a very small salary from a large law firm in Omaha, and paying back my college school loans, my work friends I met there taught me to bring my lunch from home every day and then save to go out to an elegant restaurant with them for lunch once a month, vs. spend to eat fast food daily at the food court.  What a concept!  I've never forgotten their wise "once a month out together for an elegant lunch" m.o. and share it with you here now.   We had such fun dining at nice places!   Sure, it's not rocket science, but in a society that now eats out so often, and often at not very healthy places, it's a good reminder here.

Here's my latest San Diego bistro outing with my hubby:

We dressed up to go out and I love my hubby's dapper hat!

You really don't have to break the bank to look dressed up!  My maxi sundress was on sale at Kohl's this summer for a song, (here's a similar dress),  and I bought the black ruana cape on sale there last winter too and it's very nice quality.   The lavender scarf around my neck is from Yours Elegantly online, and they gave me great customer service.  My jewelry is simply my wedding ring and a signature gemstone ring from the Holy Land that I've had for years and love, as well as earrings my hubby bought me for Christmas one year.

Trust me, I realize we won't be winning any Hollywood fashion shows here, but that's beside the point, because we dressed up for us, just to have fun.

Our bistro outing this week was at the beautiful Bistro 65 at  La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California.  It's a legendary SoCal resort in many ways.

I wrote about attending a wedding magazine photo shoot at the La Costa Resort here.  It certainly would be a gorgeous place to hold your wedding reception!

If you're a Deepak Chopra fan, this is healthy life building/gig and it's most impressive!  Because of his teachings, Bistro 56 offers some "Chopra approved" vegan menu options.

Entrance to La Costa Spa and Resort lobby.

Here's Bistro 65, their outdoor bistro that...

overlooks the golf course.

Your own organic herbs are grown right here!

You can even watch TV if you like, but when we go to bistros, we are not into that.  We prefer the quiet of the golf course view and...

enjoying the art and color!

We ordered several healthy veggie sides and they were absolutely so tasty!

The truffles were our little splurge!

Our drink of choice.

As we left the bistro, this was our beautiful exit scene.

Sunset at La Costa Resort and Spa is exquisite, yes?!

The grand total of this wonderful "bistro therapy" Sunday outing, including all our food and drinks, tip, golf-course view, a walk on the lovely landscaped grounds, and a chocolate bar we shared from their little gift shop?


See why I'm all for "bistro therapy?!"

Here are more of my FAVE bistros and bistro ideas.

And here's our little "at-home" bistro!

Celebrating the art of simple, charming, elegant living!

Kathryn :) 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

China Gets Organized

My Small Space Organizing book is on the Amazon China "Top 100" bestsellers right now in these categories:

#5 in Home & Garden/Decorating

#11 in  Christian Living

#28   Self-Help/Motivational

Amazon rankings change hourly.

Celebrating the art of simple, charming, elegant living!

Kathryn  :) 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Outdoor Bistro & Antique Beauty

Since my hubby was off work this Monday due to an official bank holiday, we took the afternoon to spend time together driving up the Pacific Coast Highway and we ended our day at one of our fave charming little outdoor places, Rancho Santa Fe Bistro.   I'm just loving all their little romantic white twinkle lights at night!  And their owners are so friendly and gracious.  We sat on the side patio and ordered veggie sides and a cold drink to cap off our fun day together.  If you ever go there, order the sweet potato fries...absolute heaven!

I've written about this cute little bistro before here and here.

Right above my hubby's head where he was sitting at the bistro was this sign.

This could be a lifestyle manifesto, don't you think?!

Looks like my hubs had the smile part down!

While out and about for the day, we stopped at a fave little home consignment places just to poke around.  And even though we are both committed to living simply and not buying a ton of stuff we don't need ... we decided we "needed" these exquisite hand-painted antique dishes from Bavaria and France because we thought they'd be FAB to use every single day for our new at-home tea salon.

I used this sweet little white pitcher for a vase.

My hubs suggested we buy these two little bowls to put our fruit salad in at dinnertime.  Great idea!

And I absolutely fell in love with the "art" of these little dessert plates and bought them for scones etc. at tea time.

In nearly all the homes we have decorated together, at one time or another I've hung collected plates on the wall; I see them as art.  (Well, I should say that my hubby was the one who actually HUNG the plates.  I just decide where I want them to go and he does his "he-man with a hammer and nails" thing for me, bless his heart.)

This beautiful rose motif plate was my favorite.  It's so genteel and lovely.

All this beautiful hand-painted china that will bring us so much daily pleasure cost us the grand sum of...


Seriously.  When my hubs was paying for them at the register, the clerk marked the prices down once again for us.


Don't you love when that happens?!

Celebrating the art of simple, charming, elegant living!

Kathryn :) 

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